Ebola, Quarantines, and Constitutional Rights

NY, NJ order Ebola quarantine for doctors, others

Alarmed by the case of an Ebola-infected New York doctor, the governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine of all medical workers and other arriving airline passengers who have had contact with victims of the deadly disease in West Africa. The first person to fall under the order was a health care worker returning Friday from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. By Friday evening, she had developed a fever and was being evaluated, New Jersey officials said.
Nurse Detained in New Jersey for Ebola Calls Conditions ‘Really Inhumane’ - Kaci Hickox to Challenge Quarantine; Still Shows No Ebola Symptoms Excerpt:

The nurse detained in New Jersey after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone has retained lawyers to challenge a mandatory quarantine in a hospital where she said Sunday the conditions are “really inhumane.” Norman Siegel, a prominent civil rights attorney in New York City, said he planned to file a lawsuit to lift the order keeping Kaci Hickox, a 33-year-old Doctors Without Borders nurse, under quarantine.
Christie Defends Mandatory Ebola Quarantine for Health-Care Workers Excerpt:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday stood by a decision to impose a mandatory 21-day quarantine for health-care workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, while a top health-care official said the move wasn’t justified by science. New Jersey is one of four states that have instituted quarantines for travelers who have had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa—measures that go beyond enhanced protocols the federal government has endorsed. “I absolutely have no second thoughts about it,” Mr. Christie said on Fox News Sunday.
Comment: Interesting. I agree with the decision to quarantine. Image source


  1. More: The Incredibility Infection - The White House objects to the state quarantines its own failures invited:

    ... the Obama Administration is pressuring the Governors of New York and New Jersey behind the scenes to reverse their decision on Friday to impose a mandatory quarantine on health workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. Well, if it weren’t for the Administration’s incompetence in handling Ebola risks on U.S. soil, maybe the state leaders wouldn’t have felt they had to take matters into their own hands.

    The real problem is that the CDC, the World Health Organization, the Health and Human Services Department and the White House have all given ample reason not to trust their assurances. They said the chance of an Ebola case in the U.S. was remote. They said airport screeners would catch anyone sick trying to enter. They said U.S. hospitals were prepared for such cases, and that doctors and nurses would be protected. And they said self-quarantines would prevent new cases.

  2. OK, so if it's a right for a doctor to ride the NY Subway when he has Ebola, then there's certainly nothing wrong with me coming to work with a cold or the flu, right?

    It boggles the mind that the CDC would not be recommending a travel ban and quarantine for those who go near the epicenter of the disease. Quite frankly, it reminds me of those who had a world class hissy fit when San Francisco tried to close bathhouses that were the center of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. With friends like them, who needs enemies?


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